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Food hygiene rating scheme

The food hygiene rating scheme (FHRS) helps people choose where to eat out or to shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in food businesses.

It’s operated by all councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is run in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency


To determine a rating for the premises an inspection by one of our food safety officers is required. Ratings are between  0 and 5:

  • 0 – urgent improvement required
  • 1 – major improvement necessary
  • 2 – some improvement necessary
  • 3 – hygiene standards are generally satisfactory
  • 4 – hygiene standards are good
  • 5 – hygiene standards are very good

Businesses are given a window sticker for display and ratings are published online.

A new FHRS rating will be given each time a business is inspected.

The rating reflects the standards of food safety and hygiene found at the time of the inspection. It doesn’t take into account factors such as food quality or customer service.

Which businesses are included in FHRS?

Food businesses that supply food directly to the public are included in the scheme. This will usually include all caterers and most retailers. 

Food businesses such as manufacturers, distributors and importers are excluded from the scheme, as are businesses that are not normally considered as a food business by the public, such as pharmacies and some newsagents. 

How are ratings worked out?

During an inspection, the food safety officer will check the following key areas:

  • food hygiene and food safety – how food is stored, prepared, handled, cooked; controls to prevent contamination
  • structure – the physical condition of the business including cleaning, equipment and facilities, pest control, layout
  • confidence in management – how the business is managed to ensure safe food, staff training, systems and documentation and the level of confidence that standards will be maintained or improved

The officer will give a score for each of these three areas which will determine the overall FHRS rating for the business.

The scores can range from 0 (high standards) to 30 (almost total non-compliance). Businesses that have low scores for each of the three elements will achieve a high FHRS rating.

The 3 individual scores and how these three scores translate into the FHRS rating are given on the inspection report left with each business. The food safety officer will explain why the rating was given and what action is needed to improve the rating. 

Food safety officers may carry out a re-visit to the business to check that issues found during the inspection have been dealt with but they will not re-rate the business under FHRS.

What can a business do if it disagrees with the rating?

What can a business do to improve its rating?

Ensure that you have taken action to complete all of the legal requirements in your last inspection report.

We’ll provide you with advice on how to improve your rating during your inspection. Use the Food Standards Agency resources to help you to manage and improve food safety in your business. 

You will be given a new FHRS rating at your next inspection.

Page updated on: 25 June 2019

Food safety


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